"We and the I": Gondry Captures Childhood in a Bus Ride

Oh, kids these days! They all may have smartphones and constant Internet access, and openly queer kids are accepted — but wearing your backpack straps over both shoulders still makes you a target of harassment by the mean kids, because some things will never change. That's just one of the many details observed in director Michel Gondry's The We and the I, which follows a group of Bronx high school students during a long, emotionally fraught bus ride home on the last day of school. Centering on the bewigged Teresa (Teresa Lynn) and the squishy-on-the-inside bully Michael (Michael Brodie), the cast workshopped with Gondry for a couple of years before filming. The result is naturalistic performances that feel neither scripted nor improvised, like real teenagers talking about real and often painful things. Best known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The We and the I is more reminiscent of Gondry's overlooked The Science of Sleep, with the bus-bound action augmented by flashbacks, flash-forwards, Rashomon moments, and a myriad of unexpected touches that make him one of the most creative directors around. The We and the I may make you glad you're out of high school, but there's no shortage of bullying or heartbreak in the adult world, either.

 
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